Monday 9 July 2012

"Breaking the D-Q Line": After Action Report, Bovington 2012

The smoke-blurry and gas-smeared eyes could hardly pick them out. The dense smoke of the shelling and the fire from the burning village made the task even harder. The ears could not register them above the constant drone and whine of the “Big Ack” FK8 contact patrol aircraft flying above the main defences of the Hindenburg Line seeking their prey.

From all of their impaired and battered senses, the German defenders of Etaing first felt the arrival of “B” Battalion of the Tank Corps in Etaing on a damp September morning in 1918. A deep, very low, seismic, dull rumble of the earth. A cup of ersatz coffee shaking on an ammunition box. Shivers of soil falling from a leaking sandbag.

Long before they were seen or heard, the tanks were felt on the front trench of the Dorcourt-Queant Line.

The House is crammed: tier beyond tier they grin
And cackle at the Show, while prancing ranks
Of harlots shrill the chorus, drunk with din;

‘We’re sure the Kaiser loves our dear old Tanks!’

I’d like to see a Tank come down the stalls,

Lurching to rag-time tunes, or ‘Home, sweet Home’,
And there’d be no more jokes in Music-halls
To mock the riddled corpses round Bapaume.

Wednesday 4 July 2012

Bovington play-test: Breaking the D-Q Line, September 1918

Another quick teaser in advance of our participation game at the Wargames South show at Bovington Tank Museum this Saturday and Sunday (7th and 8th July).  Last night we ran through the participation game for Saturday and it went pretty well, all things considered.

Like all play-tests, we spent a little too long trying to remember some of the less used rules in "Through the Mud and the Blood".  It's funny what you forget when you haven't played a set of rules for a few months!  I chatted for some time with the other players about how they found the balance between the sides, the precise force compositions needed for the games and the victory conditions.  A couple of the players kindly agreed to pretend to be completely new to the wargaming hobby and ask difficult question (bless 'em!) - all very useful preparation for the weekend!

All in all, I was pleased that we'd run through the game as it's highlighted some things Richard and I need to remember when umpiring, and has allowed us to make a few small tweaks to the forces available.

Monday 2 July 2012

Bovington 2012 - 7th and 8th July 2012

I’m making the trip down to the Tank Museum in Bovington this weekend for the Battlegroup South show with TooFatLardies.  We’re putting on another of our participation games, this one being a game of “Through the Mud and the Blood” game set in 1918.

The Bovington show is a two day show, which should give us plenty of time to recreate the fighting along the Drocourt-QuĂ©ant Line in early September 1918, and in particular the attack by the British 4th Infantry Division on the German fortified village of Etaing.  This was a far more mobile stage of the War than then the battles of the Somme and Passchendaele.  However, the British Army’s ability to mould an effective “combined arms” force and its determination to “get the job done” in finishing the war was finely balanced against a German defence which utilised effective modern weaponry in  well-sited defensive positions.

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